On this episode Chuck and I talk about Drafthouse Films Dangerous Men and Blue Underground’s Venom. While recording I also order 4 cases of Ecto-Cooler!
The Zero Boys (1986) Arrow Video Blu-ray (2016)
Directed by: Nico Mastorakis
Starring: Kelli Maroney, Daniel Hirsch, Tom Shell & Nicole Rio
The Zero Boys are ragtag group of paintballers who take their sport very seriously. The film opens with a very dramatic battle scene between The Zero Boys and their rivals in a staged battleground. After their glorious victory, The Zero Boys and their female companions head to the woods for a bit of drinking, practice and relaxation. Just as they start settling in, one of them sees a girl running through the woods and the group goes to investigate. They come across a creepy cabin and soon they realize that they will be facing off against their deadliest enemy yet.
I love Nico Mastorakis first film, Island of Death, but I had never seen The Zero Boys. The films are very different and if you go into this thinking you’re going to get Island of Death than you’ll be disappointed. That being said, this movie was great. I knew nothing about the movie before I started watching it and based on the main menu on the Blu-ray I was expecting an action movie so when the slashing began I was pumped. The movie is almost Red Dawn meets Friday the 13th and yes, that’s as awesome as it sounds. There is almost no blood in the movie yet still manages to be quite brutal. The acting is also above par for this sort of flick. It’s nothing great but it’s not the usual crap you come to expect from 80s slasher movies. Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet) is not surprisingly the best of the protagonist and Joe Estevez (Beach Babes from Beyond) plays a really great psycho.
As for the special features, there’s a brand new 2K restoration of the film, approved by writer-director Nico Mastorakis. The transfer is good,
but not great. Most of the move is clear and sharp but then there are scenes which are very grainy. If it was consistently grainy than it wouldn’t be as bad but the stark contrast between the scenes can be somewhat distracting. There is an audio commentary with star Kelli Maroney, moderated by Shock Till You Drop’s Chris Alexander which I will most definitely be listening to in the near future. The best special feature is, Nico Mastorakis on… Nico Mastorakis, which is Mr. Mastorakis interviewing himself. It’s a little under a half hour long and it is as informative as it is bizarre. There are also brand new interviews with stars Kelli Maroney and Nicole Rio. And then we have the usual theatrical trailer, stills gallery, fully-illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by critic James Oliver and reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys.
This release is definitely worth your time and money. Mastorakis is rapidly becoming one of my favorite directors and hopefully Arrow will continue their great treatment of his movies.
PIGS (1972) from Vinegar Syndrome
Directed by: Marc Lawerence
Starring: Toni Lawrence, Marc Lawrence & Jesse Vint
I can recall going into Leisure Time Video as a kid with my father and always seeing the artwork of the Pigs VHS on the shelf and never being allowed to rent it. Twenty some years later and I have finally gotten the chance to see this flick thanks to the fine folks at Vinegar Syndrome. I had always assumed that it was filled with Pigs eating people and I am sure my father did too which is probably why he never let me rent it, which turns out really isn’t what was going on in Marc Lawrence’s film.
Zambrini owns a pig farm and roadside café. He is an oddball that isn’t very liked by the people in the town. He is a former circus performer who died in an act and came back to life. He hasn’t been completely normal since then. His two neighbors are tormented by his pigs and claim that they have witnessed Zambrini feeding dead bodies to his pigs at night and are constantly calling the police on him. Lynn Hart stumbles into Zambrini’s looking for a job and a place to stay. Fleeing from her father, Zambrini takes her in. She is very much liked by all the male patrons of the café. She seems like a normal girl just trying to find her place in the world, but we so start to wonder which one of our characters is actually the crazy one.
So Pigs isn’t necessarily the film you are expecting, but what we get is more of a character study. We have one character we are certain is crazy and we witness another possibly going insane. Of course that’s up for you to decide. You do get to see some pigs eating people though, so if that’s what you are wanting, it’s there. For a film that has escaped me for over half my life, Pigs did not disappoint. While it’s not over violent or gory it does deliver in a big way. Some of the best scenes in my opinion are dream sequences or delusion’s, one of them made me think the film was going into another direction entirely. Which if I am being honest, I want to see that version of the film!
Now as I said I haven’t seen the original VHS and I have no idea if Troma ever released it on DVD, but this transfer looks great! That is one thing you always see in Vinegar Syndrome’s BD releases. The sound quality is pretty good as well. The pigs are overly loud for that scare factor, but the dialogue is sometimes a little lower than others or it could’ve just been my son being loud as per usual. I am not sure which, but overall it’s a stellar release. Bonus features include; a really great interview with actress Toni Lawrence, an interview with composer Charles Bernstein, alternate openings, an alternate ending and more!
I am very happy that Vinegar Syndrome released this 70’s gem. It’s been on my list for about as long as I can remember and like I said the film did not disappoint. As previously stated this is not a creature feature with killer pigs, we definitely get something more than that. With an outstanding cast and some man eating pigs, I believe this film will gain a whole new horde of fans thanks to Vinegar Syndrome.
This week we are a bit late due to the pumpkin-faced rockstar… Anyway this week we have some great and not so great films for you! We review Nicholas Lopez’s Eli Roth starter Aftershock, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s The Resolution and take a look back on John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness! It’s a short show this week and Vincent gives you an in detailed reason of why he wasn’t able to record the show on time.
This week as we prepare for Cinema Wasteland we review a few flicks. This week we take a look at Chad Ferrin’s strange Someone’s Knocking At The Door, Johnnie Dickie’s Slaughter Tales which was sent to us from our good friend Rob at Wile Eye Releasings and Ken Costenino’s Crimson from Alternative Cinema. We deliver Last Rites ro Jeff Burr’s 1995 killer scarecrow film Night Of The Scarecrow!